By Alex Cordero
Our country has many stories about immigrants coming to the U.S. determined to achieve their dreams of living in America. “The Running Man of Pasadena” is a film about local Pasadena resident Haik Zakarian who immigrated to the United States from Iraq dreaming of only one thing, freedom. You may have even seen him around your neighborhood as he spends most of his free time running long distances through cities like Pasadena and Sierra Madre. The making of this short documentary film did more than tell an American dream story, it also brought a Pasadena community together.
Brett Nicoletti, the director of the film, remembers being curious about Zakarian after seeing him running along Altadena Drive during Nicoletti’s normal routine of dropping his daughter off at school one morning back in 2016. After sharing their common interest in long distance running, Nicoletti learned about Zakarian’s story and was inspired to create the film.
Local Crown City residents came together for the making of the short film, making it a true Pasadena community movie creation. For example, an original song called “Finish Line” was composed by Gillian Chamberlin, a 14-year-old high school student from Pasadena who is also featured in the movie. Chamberlin’s father, John Chamberlin, was the sound engineer for the short film and Shelly Gurzi from Altadena was the cinematographer. The fact that the making of the movie is a local community effort makes “The Running Man of Pasadena” all the more special.
The film has been accepted to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and will be making its world premiere next month. There will be two showings of the short film, the first one on Friday, Feb. 8 at 10 a.m. and the second showing on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. You can also view “The Running Man of Pasadena” teaser at brettnicoletti.com.